So the idea that on its own „prison works‟ is unsophisticated and simplistic. Which is why, if we are in Government come May, my priority is to launch a rehabilitation revolution inside prisons, and outside them.

And in straightforward normal language, what this means is volunteers, prison governors, prison officers, prisons as a whole, probation and support after release, all focusing on rehabilitating prisoners in order to reduce repeat offending. It means a massive increase in training, education, drug rehabilitation, effective mental health treatment, and – now let‟s get to the key point of my speech today - it means RESTORATIVE JUSTICE.

Restorative Justice is a very broad term, so let me set out what I mean. What I mean is restorative justice inside prison, and outside prison. As something that is in addition to custody. Or, as something in police stations that is an alternative to small penalties. Crucially, I mean that human element which links the offender with the victim, and the victim with the offender…

…The 2009 report from the national Commission on Restorative Justice in Ireland neatly defined it. They said it is: “a victim sensitive response to criminal offending which, through engagement with those affected by crime aims to make amends for the harm that has been caused to victims and communities and which facilitates offender rehabilitation and integration into society."

Read the whole speech.

The seminar's programme and other materials, including text of several other presentations are available from Restorative Justice Consortium.